After the governments announcement of financial package for the Imams,the priests and the pundits have also come under an umbrella to raise their voice for pensions like financial benefit and health insurance,which they think the state government should provide for them.
Addressing a press conference,Netai Chakraborty,president of the All India Chatuspati Tol Jibon Jibika Bachao Committee,demanded that the government should give pension or financial assistance and medical facilities to priests and pundits.
Chakraborty,who runs a tol (also teaches Sanskrit there) at Maniktala,took the initiative to set up the organisation for priests and pundits. It was formed on April 14,the Bengali news year day.
Reacting to the governments announcement to pay pension of Rs 2,500 per month to the imams,Chakraborty said that they were not opposing the decision of the state governments.
If the government could sanction fund for the imams,it should provide financial assistance to priests and pundits too. He said people like him are leading miserable lives at the Tol.
He said they would meet Mamata Banerjee to speak about their demands,this week,and a convention would be held in the May to unite the priests and pundits of the entire state.
About 22,000 priests live in poverty and the next generation does not seem interested in performing pujas anymore. In a such situation,the government should come forward to provide financial assistance to the aged priests and pundits,Chalkboard said. The existence of priests and pundits is at stake and since less and less people are wanting to take up the profession,in future,this might affect the pujas in our society,he added.
According to the organisation,earlier there were over 700 tols in the state,but now only about 100 tols exist,and those too are in a dismal state. Pundits teach Sanskrit at the tols,as is the tradition of the Hindu society. But the government does not recognise their efforts,alleged Chakraborty.